- Inaugural Paul Lawrie Match Play hailed a huge success
- Players full of praise for course and the change in format
- However, the Scot did raise concerns about spectator numbers
The inaugural Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play has been hailed as a huge success, with hosts, sponsors and players alike crediting its addition to the European Tour schedule.
In a tense final, Kiradech Aphibarnrat held off Robert Karlsson to secure his second European Tour victory of the season, while there was also home interest on the final day with Marc Warren, the highest-ranked player in the field, beaten by the eventual winner in the semi-finals before going on to lose to David Howell in the third place play-off.
And Paul Lawrie, who was knocked out in round two by Chris Doak on Friday, paid tribute to all those behind the scenes who made the tournament possible, while he also revealed his delight at the feedback he’d received from his fellow players.
"It's been absolutely magnificent to be fair" - Paul Lawrie
“I think it's been absolutely magnificent to be fair,” Lawrie told the European Tour. “I don't think you could have asked for any more. 4Sports & Entertainment have promoted it for me and I think they have just done a wonderful job with everything.
“Mike Loggie at Saltire Energy is thrilled with how it went, as you can imagine. He's been here every day, and he's really enjoyed it, which is obviously the most important thing when your main guy is happy with how it's going. The feedback from the players has been brilliant. They have all loved the course.
“The condition of the course has been out of the world. Some of the boys have said these are some of the best greens they have putted on, certainly this year. When you get comments like that and when you get the weather like we had for the final day, you know it's going to be magnificent.”
Even before the tournament started, players were giving Lawrie and the event its backing, with Anthony Wall saying that Murcar Links was the ‘perfect course for matchplay’ and that the 1999 Open champion and his friends had done a ‘fantastic job’ in its organisation.
And speaking afterwards, third-placed Howell said: “I've really enjoyed it and had been looking out for a matchplay tournament to come back out on the tour for many years.
"It's been a great week and the players have really enjoyed it" - David Howell
“It’s lovely to have Paul Lawrie come up with the idea and host the event. It's been a great week and the players have really enjoyed it. Even those that lost in the first round, having breakfast with them Friday morning, everyone wants to see it stay.”
Matt Fitzpatrick, who was beaten by Peter Uihlein on the 19th in the second round, tweeted: “Great event though @PLMatchplay loved playing in it and hopefully I’ll do enough to get in it next year!! Thanks @PaulLawriegolf & Sponsors!”
Edoardo Molinari, who was also eliminated in the second round by Scot Richie Ramsay, added:
Chris Doak, who knocked out Lawrie in the second round before losing to Howell on Saturday, tweeted: “Huge thanks to Saltire Energy and @PaulLawriegolf @paullawriefound and all the other sponsors for a fantastic tournament #scotswinner.”
However, despite getting full approval from players, Lawrie seemed concerned by the lack of spectators at the event throughout the four days, and took to Twitter to look for some feedback.
The good news is though, the Paul Lawrie Match Play will be a European Tour event until at least 2017, with Lawrie clearly acting quickly to try and increase the amount of spectators that come through the gates in the years ahead.
Paul Lawrie Match Play :: Your thoughts
What did you make of the inaugural Paul Lawrie Match Play? And how do you think spectator numbers could be improved? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.